Define resilience and its common themes
Identify and differentiate the biopsychosocial and
spiritual characteristics associated with resilience
Discuss how culture and diversity influence
Describe interventions used to promote resilience
in older adults
“The capability to cope successfully in the face of
significant change, adversity, or risk. This
capability changes over time and is enhanced by
protective factors in the individual and
(Stewart et al., 1997)
Resilient behaviors are positive outcomes when
risks are present.
Resilience is connected to successful aging.
Dynamic and depends on life context
A combination of risk factors stemming from multiple
stressful life events and protective factors that decrease
the negative influence of risk.
A balance between stress and the ability to cope
Developmental and being successful strengthens a
Most important in times of life transitions
Biological – innate behavioral
characteristics of resilience
Problem Solving Skills
*Biological factors can be
influenced by the environment.
Psychological – personal
*These characteristics promote
Social – positive socialization
is key to developing
Older adults can benefit
from their social ties.
Social resilience is
Planning and seeking help
Spiritual – “how a person
seeks to transcend the self in
order to discover meaning,
belonging, and relatedness to
(Conrad, 1999, p. 63)
Faith communities and
traditions can promote
A Discussion About Resilience
Among Holocaust Survivors
This podcast features Dr. Roberta Greene,
Professor Emeritus in the School of Social
Work at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Greene will define resilience and its
importance in later life.
She will also share her experience
exploring resilience among Holocaust
survivors and the themes that were
Click on or copy and paste the weblink
below to listen to the podcast:
Dr. Roberta Greene
Resilience in Later Adulthood
High resilience is associated with:
Better mental and physical health (Wells, 2010).
Lower perceived stress and higher life satisfaction
and optimism (Wagnild & Collins, 2009).
Higher fruit/vegetable consumption and more
physical activity (Perna et al., 2012).
Power and privilege are protective factors that
Groups to consider when fostering resiliency in
older adults include:
Lower economic status or social class
Poor physical or mental health
The Resiliency Model
Richardson, G. E. (2002) The Metatheory of resilience and resiliency. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58, 307-521
Listen to the stories
Identify the source of stress
Acknowledge the loss, vulnerability, and future
Stabilize/normalize the situation with empathy and
Help find the benefits of the adverse event
Help identify his/her strengths
(Greene & Cohen, 2005)
Talk about resilience
Strengthen his/her problem solving abilities
Acknowledge spirituality in transcending the
Provide resources for change
Help him/her take control
Help build social networks (i.e. senior centers,
(Greene & Cohen, 2005)
Healthcare providers can use the resilience scale to
screen older adults for resilience, help them
recognize their resilience, and identify
ways to strengthen it.
Wagnild, G. M., & Young, H. M. (1993).
Development and psychometric evaluation of the
resilience scale. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 1,
Click on or copy and paste the weblink below to
access the resilience scale:
Case Study 1
Living Alone In Community and Over 85 Years
Old: A Case Study (Pierini & Volker, 2009)
Case Study 1 Discussion Questions
What biopsychosocial and spiritual characteristics did
Mary display that are associated with resilience?
What interventions could be utilized to further increase
Why is it important to identify Mary’s resilience?
What life transitions might Mary be experiencing that
could affect her resilience?
What areas of Mary’s life were not discussed by the
interviewer that may also contribute to her resilience?
Case Study 2
Reflections on Hurricane Katrina by Older Adults:
Three Case Studies in Resiliency and Survivorship
Case Study 2 Discussion Questions
What was the impetus in the cases of Katherine,
Jerry, and Sally that forced them to display resilient
What type of resilience do Katherine, Jerry and
Sally demonstrate ? (ie. dynamic and static)
What responses of Katherine, Jerry, and Sally
demonstrate that type of resilience ?
Compare and contrast the protective factors of
resilience for Katherine, Jerry, and Sally.
Conrad, A. P. (1999). Professional tools for religiously and spiritually sensitive social work practice. In R.
R. Greene (Ed.) Human behavior theory and social work practice (2nd ed). (pp 63-72). New York, NY:
Aldine de Gruyter.
Greene, R. R. (2012). Resiliency: An integrated approach to practice, policy, and research. (2nd ed).
Washington, DC: National Association of Social Workers.
Greene, R. R., & Cohen, H. L. (2005). Social work with older adults and their families: Changing practice
paradigms. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 86(3), 367-373.
Perna, L., Mielck, A., Lacruz, M., Emeny, R., Holle, R., Breitfelder, A., & Ladwig, K. (2012).
Socioeconomic position, resilience, and health behaviour among elderly people. International Journal of
Public Health, 57(2), 341-349. doi: 10.1007/s00038-011-0294-0
Richardson, G. E. (2002). The metatheory of resilience and resiliency. Journal of Clinical Psychology,
58(3), 307-321. doi: 10.1002/jclp.10020
Stewart, M., Reid, G., & Mangham, C. (1997). Fostering children’s resilience. Journal of Pediatric
Nursing, 12(1), 21-31.
Wagnild, G., & Collins, J. (2009). Assessing resilience. Journal Of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health
Services, 47(12), 28-33. doi: 10.3928/02793695-20091103-01
Wells, M. (2010). Resilience in older adults living in rural, suburban and urban areas. Online Journal Of
Rural Nursing & Health Care, 10(2), 45-54.